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Mississippi River Basin


The Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles through America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. The watershed not only provides drinking water, food, industry, and recreation for millions of people, it also hosts a globally significant migratory flyway and home for over 325 bird species.

Leading the world in agricultural production, a healthy agricultural sector in the Mississippi River Basin is essential for maintaining the nation’s and the world’s food and fiber supply. USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) cropland models show that conservation on cropland throughout the entire Mississippi River Basin has reduced nitrogen and sediment loading to the Gulf of Mexico by 28 percent and 45 percent, respectively, over what would be lost without conservation systems in place.

With the CCA designation, USDA will build on existing strong partnerships in the basin to accelerate conservation in the 13-state area to continue to reduce nutrient and sediment loading to local and regional water bodies and to improve efficiency in using water supplies, particularly in the southern states.  The CCA boundary was identified to harness the partnerships and momentum already established by NRCS’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). With more than 600 partners engaged throughout the initiative area, MRBI has treated over 800,000 acres of agricultural land with systems of practices intended to avoid, control, and trap nutrient and sediment run-off and improve irrigation efficiency.

Printer-friendly CCA map (PDF, 1.2MB)

Shapefiles for GIS (ZIP, 218KB)

Thumbmail of Mississippi River Basin CCA Map


CCA Priorities

Partners interested in submitting projects should consider the overall goal of the CCA and priority resource concerns. CCA project proposals that align with NRCS priorities may rank higher in the evaluation of proposals.

Overall Goal: Reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loads from private lands.


Resource Concern Priorities

Water Quality Degradation: Excess nutrients and pesticides in surface and ground waters; excessive sediment in surface waters

Insufficient Water: Inefficient use of irrigation water (associated with Water Quality Degradation)

Inadequate Habitat for Fish and Wildlife: Habitat degradation

More Information

CEAP cropland reports and other CEAP studies have been completed throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

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